Friday, November 2, 2012

breaking up is hard to do

To report back on just one part of the brilliance of my co-blogger (a full report would be quite lengthy):

The other day I was teaching how to write an essay, a normal topic I've gone over a hundred times.  This time, I used an analogy first proffered in this space by Ed. 

He once told me and this blog that he teaches academic writing with a dating analogy.

The lesson goes like this: tell your students that when they write papers, pretend they are trying to convince their friend that their current significant other isn't all that great and they need to break up.  You can't just say, "break up with hir."  That's a start, but gets you nowhere if that's all you got.  To be compelling, you have to add, "s/he is mean-spirited, selfish, and generally no good for you." 

What's more, you have to provide evidence too: "Remember that time s/he kissed your mother a bit too open-mouthed and then patted her on the tush before winking suggestively at your dad.  That's just mean."

"And then there was that time s/he took the last sip of the Slurpee before handing it back to you throw away--and that was on your birthday!"

"And all this brings out the worst in you, making you insecure and weak and no fun to be around."

Then we suggested an outline:

Argument: Break up.
I. mean
    A.  open-mouthed kiss with your mother
II. selfish
    A. slurpee slurper
III. no good for you
   A.  you change when you're with hir
Conclusion: Break up.

This was all a bit silly in class, but it was effective at teaching beginners how to make an argument and rely on evidence to back up your points.  Truth be told, I've been shocked at how many students have talked to me about writing using this analogy.

And that's another lesson: to an extent, meet them where they are!

1 comment:

  1. I just wanted to stop and thank Dr Atingo for his help. You have saved my relationship twice....and all that time I used your spell. I broke up twice last year with my ex......first time we got back together...lasted a short while because I had not followed your instruction completely...second time I used your methods again and he came back. Thank you so much. I was so confused how to act when he came back, but I had to follow your instruction. We are stronger than the first time or the second time......and all because I took your well meaning spell. Thank you so much. I have a life these days, after letting go of all the drama in my life. Thank you so much for your help. contact him with email if you need is help also.